This post is coming straight from the heart. It's something I truly believe in and want every other person to believe in too. This became even more important to me, as with a lot of things, when I became a mum. What I am talking about is the pressure men and women feel these days to look a certain way.
I know this post might come across as hypocritical coming from a part time beauty blogger and make-up artist but actually I think it puts me in a great position to talk about this topic. Like I said, this all came about when I had my first baby girl. As with a lot of other strange things that you never thought you would think about, thoughts about what she would be like when she was older started to creep into my head and this happened all over again when I had my second. I found myself worrying about them being concerned over their image, as I once did when I was a teenager. I didn't want them to be so concerned with it that it took over their thoughts, or worse, gave them anxiety.
I think my teenage years was when I really started to worry abut my appearance, to the point when it would effect my health in terms of anxiety. I was bullied at school about my appearance. My curly frizzy hair was where it stemmed from and because of this, the way I looked became a big thing to me. I wanted to 'fit in'. Well what I thought was fitting in. Now I look back I am so grateful I didn't. Without this experience I would not have been the strong, thick-skinned, determined woman I am today.
Beauty has now become a passion of mine. Yes, I am a beauty blogger and make-up artist, but that is because I find make-up fun! Not because I need it to hide behind. Most days I am make-up free and comfortable in my own skin. I've posted numerous times on my blog without any make-up or with my curly hair out and proud. I have stretch marks as thick as tiger stripes, muffin tops which hang over my trousers, but I am secure in what I am. I'm not saying I don't have the odd insecurity, it's natural to, but in no way do I let my appearance take over my thoughts or give me anxiety.
I hope my girls see it as fun like I do. There is so much pressure put on girls and boys that I worry about how I can actually protect them from this. What can I actively do to make them feel secure? I just want them to feel comfortable in their own skin and not feel like they have to put make-up on or be a certain size because that's the norm. I can only be open and honest with them and let them explore. Teach them good eating habits and make them feel happy about who they are and what they look like. I naturally find myself telling them they're beautiful and that I love them with all my heart, and hopefully this will give them some inner confidence too.
More recently I found myself reading Sunita's blog post, from LuckyThings.co.uk, on the Be Real Campaign and my ten line comment made me think I needed to write a post about it. The Be Real Campaign, if you don't know, is a pledge to be exactly that. It is a campaign that hopes to change attitudes to body image and help us to put health before appearance. It also encourages diversity in media and advertising and to promote body confidence. It's a great campaign that gives you practical things you can do to actually support the campaign. From complimenting your friends to speaking out about this issue. With the media playing such a big part in people's expectations, it is so important for them to make a conscious effort to make these realistic. Brands such as Dove, New Look and Superdrug, all sponsor and support the campaign which is a step in the right direction. However there is still a long way to go. So the more people that can read and be aware of the campaign, the better!
So this is my pledge to be real. And that's in all aspects of life. Don't ever be the you that you think other people will like. Always be the you that you like. Be the REAL you.
Will you support the pledge?